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  • Stanbridge Associates

Homeworking Operational Control Procedure (OCP)

INTRODUCTION


Homeworkers are defined as those people who are employed to work at, or from,

home. Health and safety legislation applies to homeworkers in addition to employees

working at an employer's workplace.


The work conducted by SAL has the potential to expose employees to risks

associated with home working. Employers and employees are able to manage

effectively the risks created by home working and its interaction with health and

safety.


The intent of this procedure is to demonstrate how we will prevent or control this risk.

We will show how we meet the requirements of the Health and Safety at Work etc.

Act 1974, the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and

other statutory provisions not listed here.

We will:

  • ensure that an assessment of the risks to homeworkers is carried out and additional control measures are implemented if necessary;

  • consult with homeworkers regarding health and safety; and

  • provide appropriate training for homeworkers where required.


1.0 PURPOSE

The intent of this procedure is to prevent accidents/incidents and injury/ ill

health arising from any interaction between working practices and home

working.


2.0 SCOPE

This procedure outlines the management of home working and work activities

to assist in the prevention of accident/incident and/or injury/ ill health. This

procedure covers all areas of our activities throughout the business.


3.0 ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

The person responsible for implementing this procedure will carry out or

delegate such functions as necessary to ensure the effective day-to-day

operation of our safety arrangements.


Where the responsibility to carry out risk assessments is delegated, the

individual/s will have the necessary expertise to carry out the task- be a

competent person.


Managers/Supervisors are responsible for:

  • implementing this procedure in their area of responsibility;

  • ensuring an assessment of the risks to homeworkers is carried out and additional control measures implemented as required;

  • consulting with homeworkers; and

  • providing appropriate training for homeworkers.

Employees are responsible for:

  • ensuring that they do not endanger their own health/safety or the health/safety of any other person; and

  • consulting with managers in relation to developing appropriate measures to control risk associated with home working.

4.0 PROCEDURE

The management of homeworking employees/activities and the interaction

with health and safety will be carried out in accordance with this procedure,

relevant legislation and HSE Guidance.


We will ensure:

  • We identify homeworking activities where there is a risk of accident/incident or injury/ill health;

  • An evaluation of working arrangements against the risk of accident/incident or injury/ ill health is carried out- risk assessment;

  • The risk assessments will be done with the homeworker;

  • Safe working arrangements are implemented and procedures are in place for monitoring and communication;

  • Homeworkers are provided with sufficient training to undertake relevant tasks safely; and

  • We review this procedure at least annually or more frequently if significant changes occur.

5.0 DEFINITIONS

Homeworker:

An employee who is contracted to work predominantly at home.


Policy

Employers have a duty to protect the health, safety and welfare of their employees

and this includes homeworkers. Homeworkers are those employees who regularly

work at home because of formally agreed arrangements with their employers.


Most of the work employees undertake at home is work on a computer supported by

the records of our clients (some of which may be paper-based) hence such work is

not usually considered to be high risk. Regardless, as your employer, we must

ensure risk must continue to be assessed. This includes any equipment provided by

our business and ensuring there is a suitable and safe place for the employee to

work. Any home-based site requires a designated area (when the employee is at

work) deemed to be an acceptable workspace and the employee must have a clear

delineation of when they are working or not working. Where space is at a premium,

this may include using items of equipment which can be stored away when work

ends..


Procedural Steps

Carry out a risk assessment for homeworking.


Step 1 Identify the hazards

First, we need to work out how people could be harmed so we consider the

following:


  • Look at the tasks homeworkers are required to undertake including assessing the equipment needed to perform these tasks for example, the need to use electrical equipment. Before we provide you with a laptop or computer, we will ensure it is PAT compliant.

  • We will ask our employees what they think in case they are aware of things not immediately obvious to us as the employer;

  • We shall ask you always to check manufacturers' instructions or data sheets for equipment and notify us of any identified hazards if such equipment is delivered direct to the employee; and

  • We ask you to remember to think about physical and mental health hazards, for example, poor posture or working too many hours without a proper break. Working from home should present you with the opportunity to be flexible and take advantage of the time available during the day and use this constructively for both work and home life.

Step 2 Deciding who might be harmed and how

For each hazard we need to be clear about who might be harmed - it helps us to

identify the best way of managing that risk. We do this by identifying specific risk

for you as individuals because we are a small business and able to do this,

however it does involve your engagement in that process.


In each case, we identify how you may be harmed, that is, what type of injury or ill

health might occur as a result of working from home. This does not mean things

like scalding yourself from an accident with the kettle because the risk of this

remains similar to when you are at home during your own time and so where risks

are normal hazards you must remember to take care as you normally do so. It

does however mean such risks as are increased because of the change to your

working environment. For example, computer users may suffer musculoskeletal

problems if they don't have suitable equipment, others may slip, trip or fall in a

poorly maintained or inappropriate working environment. This may require us to

visit you at home or ask for a photograph of your designated working space to

identify risks which you may not have considered.


Some employees have special requirements and may be at particular risk:

  • New and young employees;

  • New or expectant mothers; and

  • People with disabilities/existing health issues.

You as the employee will need to inform us of such things (unless they are

obvious) as extra thought will be needed for some hazards. As the employee, you

will need to engage with us to think about how homeworking affects family

members and visitors, as well as how their activities affects you as a homeworker.


Step 3 Evaluating the risks and agreeing on precautions

Having identified the hazards, we need to decide what, if anything we can do

about them. The law requires us to do everything reasonably practicable to protect

people from harm. We do this by comparing our actions and solutions with good

practice.


We take into account the controls we all have in place and how our workplace

risks are managed.


To achieve this we should:

  • Organise work to reduce exposure to any hazard, for example, by establishing a designated working area and ensuring family members are aware of homeworking times. Whilst dependents are also at home this is particularly important to reduce for example, stress levels to balance priorities;

  • Provide training on the safe use of display screen equipment; and

  • Provide equipment as we would if you were in our offices such as an adjustable chair or a fold-away or standing desk. Failure to take simple precautions can prove problematic and cause longer term issues.

Step 4 Record your findings and implement them

We trust that by implementing the results of your risk assessment as a team, we

will make a positive difference when looking after both our people and our

business.

We record the results of our risk assessments and share them with you.

We need to be able to show that as a team, we have:

  • Identified all the potential hazards relating to homeworking;

  • Considered who might be involved in homeworking situations and the harm they may encounter;

  • Introduced control measures to manage all significant hazards; and

  • Demonstrated our precautions are reasonable, and the remaining risk is as low as is possible.

When as a team, we have identified a number of control measures we make an

action plan to deal with the most important things first.


Step 5 Reviewing our risk assessment and update if necessary

When involved in our day to day activities it is very easy to forget about reviewing

our risk assessment until something goes wrong and it is too late, hence why we

set regular review dates for assessing risk and request your involvement.

Risk assessments should be reviewed at least annually and more often if there

have been any changes to the homeworking arrangements, tasks, people,

procedures or equipment or following any reported incidents at home involving

working practices.


Frequently Asked Questions


1. What is homeworking?

Homeworking is a type of flexible working arrangement agreed between the employee

and employer, and usually involves the employee performing some or all work duties

from home.


2. Why do we need a homeworking policy?

Employers who operate homeworking should have a clear and well-defined policy in

place – this will help manage rules on employee communication, work obligations and

to ensure health and safety obligations are met.


Our policy is available in full from our staff handbook online, or on request from the

practice manager.


3. Can my employer force me to work from home?

Homeworking arrangements must be agreed between both the employee and

employer.


An employer cannot usually force an employee to work from home if they do not have

the contractual right to do so – they would need to seek agreement to do so. Our

contracts do allow for us to stipulate from where you will work provided this is a

reasonable request. As your home is a reasonable alternative to an office then we

believe any request to work from home either temporarily or permanently is reasonable

subject to our policy. Should you have any concerns, these may be raised together

with our practice manager and a solution will be sought, with a right of appeal to our

director, Vanessa Sanders.


4. What are the legal implications of homeworking?

Employers have a legal duty to protect the health, safety and welfare of homeworkers

– this includes carrying out a risk assessment of the tasks carried out by an employee

whilst at home.


This means identifying potential hazards and taking sufficient steps to prevent harm

to them or people who may be affected by their work. This should include making sure

equipment is safe and that the employee's work space is suitable and does not cause

discomfort.


Employees who use display screen equipment and computers regularly - including

homeworkers - are entitled to an eye test paid for by their employer, which as you are

aware we reimburse upon production of a receipt as part of our normal expense

reimbursement procedures.


You should inform your mortgage company, landlord and home insurer that you intend

to work from home on an on-going basis. Should this involve extra cost please contact

the practice manager to discuss.


5. What equipment do I need to provide for homeworking?

Homeworkers will need a desk and chair, reliable, fast broadband connection and a

laptop or desktop computer with the necessary software installed. They may also need

a smartphone or other mobile device. Whilst you as an employee may be content to

use your own equipment in an emergency (such as a pandemic or failure of a computer

for example), we as your employer will provide as quickly as possible, the equipment

you need to work from home. This will be assessed with you and a list of items agreed

with the practice manager and signed off by the director.


Our biggest risk as a business is our data security and you must follow the same rules

at home as you would in our offices. Access to our data should be password protected

and you should use your SAL email and mobile (if provided) to communicate with

clients. For internal communication Microsoft Teams should be used.


Should you need to upgrade your internet connectivity please speak to the practice

manager.


6. What happens if I am working from home when the schools are closed

(under abnormal circumstances) and I have to care for children?

If you are working from home and feel able to carry out your work duties despite having

childcare responsibilities, it is up to us together as a team, to decide if working from

home under these arrangements remains suitable. Under the current exceptional

circumstances, it is best practice for us all to be understanding and tolerant and to

come up with a solution appropriate to both home-working and business needs.

This may be considering alternative working arrangements, such as changing work

patterns to enable an employee to look after dependants and complete work duties at

an alternative time in the day.


If an employee is unable to work because of caring responsibilities, the government

confirmed on 4th April 2020 that such an employee can be placed on furlough leave

although this may result in a reduction to salary.


7. How will I be monitored whilst working at home?

It is important to consider how you will work from home and segregate home and

work. You will need to be self-motivated and able to meet deadlines. Monitoring will

be direct by your line managers and the practice manager using our time-sheet

system for recording work on client jobs, and through Microsoft software such as

planner and one note and our usual channels for discussion, training and

assessment of work. You will be measured against output and in line with the norm

for your grouping.


Should you require flexibility of hours then you will need to discuss this with the

practice manager unless you are part of the technical team when you will be required

to work flexibly and respond to client needs in return for which we also offer

flexibility.


8. Will I be required to travel for meetings?

As part of our technical team you may be required to travel to a meeting with clients

either at their place of business or in their home. This will be subject to our loneworking

policy and our health and safety policies.


All members of staff will be required to travel to meet each other for our physical

team meetings which will be held ad hoc but notice of at least a week will be given,

unless there is an emergency situation which requires face to face contact.


9. Will you as the employer visit me at home?

We shall keep any visits to you in your home to a minimum. We may require access

to assess your working situation for health and safety purposes or if you invite us for

a meeting. We will be required to give you notice of 48 hours and agree a mutually

convenient time or an alternative location or method of assessment if possible.

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7 Lindum Terrace
Lincoln
LN2 5RP

England

Company No: 1401387   VAT No: 340074690

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Disclaimer. This website is produced for general information only and readers should seek specific advice before acting, or refraining to act, on any suggestions contained within this website. Stanbridge Associates cannot accept responsibility for action taken or refrained from being taken by readers without seeking specific advice. © Copyright 2021 Stanbridge Associates Limited. All Rights Reserved.

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